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Cheryl Crazy Bull: Charity always a part of our tribal society

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: charity, cheryl crazy bull

"Imagine societies where frequent family and community events were held to ensure that all people were provided for and where goods and resources were regularly redistributed so no one would be in need. Traditionally, American Indian societies are like that.

Imagine that this social structure of sharing and generosity is taken away from you. That is what happened to American Indian Tribes across the U.S. Giveaways, ceremonies and potlatches were banned by the federal government and often by church leaders—seen as events that epitomized the definition of “Indian” and unnecessary to the assimilation of tribes into American society. Tribes resisted and after decades of oppression, there has been a revitalization of this important means of sharing good fortune with those who have less.

Yet, the effects of the policies banning redistribution of resources have not disappeared. There remains an incredible lack of access to resources for most children and their families on our reservations and rural and urban tribal communities. Families in tribal communities are still without adequate resources to live. Poverty has taken its toll. Our response, today, has been to increase our strategies toward building relationships that bring resources into our communities."

Get the Story:
Cheryl Crazy Bull: Native Charities and Winter Giving (Indian Country Today 12/16)

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